New York Giants: Washington Redskins

W2W4: New York Giants

September, 25, 2014
The New York Giants (1-2) are in Landover, Maryland, on Thursday night for an early-season NFC East matchup against Washington (1-2) at FedEx Field. Here are three things we'll be watching in this game:

[+] EnlargeRashad Jennings
AP Photo/Evan PinkusThe Giants' Rashad Jennings rushed for a league Week 3-best 176 yards in a victory over Houston last Sunday.
1. Rashad Jennings' workload: This might not be a major factor if the Giants aren't playing with a lead, as they were all day against Houston, but Giants coaches said they were monitoring Jennings closely this week after he carried the ball 34 times in Sunday's victory. Jennings is in excellent physical condition, but he has the second-most carries in the league so far, and any running back would have a tough time bouncing back just four days after a 34-carry workload. If the Giants find themselves in the enviable position of having an early lead and being able to run their offense the way they ran it Sunday, don't be surprised to see Jennings get more breaks. That could mean an enlarged opportunity for rookie running back Andre Williams in this game. It also will be interesting to see whether the running backs get any catches this week. Jennings was not targeted in the passing game Sunday, and it's no coincidence, because he was asked to stay in and help block on pass plays as part of a successful effort to combat the Houston pass rush.

2. Will the Giants test the Washington secondary? This unit is always a question mark, and it took a hit Sunday with the loss of starting cornerback DeAngelo Hall for the season with an Achilles injury. To this point, the Giants have been relying on the run game and the short passing game. Of Eli Manning's 100 throws this year, 68 have been either behind or within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. In order to confidently throw downfield more, the Giants are going to have to develop greater trust in the consistency of their improving offensive line and hope that the addition of speedy rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., if he can return from his hamstring injury in the next couple of weeks, will help them stretch the field. In the meantime, they'll likely keep it close to the line unless they're behind and trying to catch up. But if they end up having to throw downfield, that's when the potential for interceptions rises.

3. Will the pass rush light up? The Giants had only 34 sacks as a team last year, but eight of them came in their two December games against Washington. They sacked Robert Griffin III five times in the road game and Kirk Cousins three times in the home game that ended the season. Cousins is the Washington starter these days with Griffin out because of an ankle injury, and it will be interesting to see whether Cousins and his teammates can keep the Giants' pass rush at bay to an extent they could not when they were playing out the string last December. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was injured and not playing by the end of last season, is off to a hot start this year.

Top free-agent roundup: NFC East

March, 10, 2014
Here are the top 15 free agents, followed by their rankings, entering Tuesday's signing period as compiled by NFC East reporters Dan Graziano, Todd Archer, Phil Sheridan and John Keim. There are some strong options at the top, but there is not a lot of depth in the NFC East when it comes to free agency. And if Dallas' DeMarcus Ware gets released, he vaults to a top spot on this list. As always, ESPN's free-agent tracker will keep you updated during this period.

1. LB Brian Orakpo, 8.5: The Redskins used the franchise tag on him, so barring a surprise, he’ll be back. It’s a controversial move among fans, but the Redskins need his pass rush and promise to unleash him more often. His career best for a single season is 11 sacks.

2. DT Linval Joseph, 8: A very big, strong and young (25) interior run-stuffer who has also shown the ability to create pressure from the interior, Joseph could be available because of the Giants’ depth at defensive tackle and their many needs.

3. DT Jason Hatcher, 8: He is coming off an 11-sack season, but he turns 32 in July and Dallas doesn’t have much cap space.

4. LB Jon Beason, 7: The Giants are working hard to sign him before free agency opens, as his leadership and high-energy play at middle linebacker helped transform their defense during the 2013 season.

5. WR Hakeem Nicks, 7: This grade is based on talent and past accomplishments, and a feeling that he was being overly careful in 2013 in order to hit free agency healthy. Lacks his early career speed, but knows how to play the position as well as anyone.

6. WR Jason Avant, 7: For a team in need of a third-down possession guy, the sure-handed Avant will be a great value.

7. P Donnie Jones, 7: The Eagles are expected to re-sign Jones, who was an underrated contributor to their NFC East title team.

8. DE Anthony Spencer, 6: He is coming back from microfracture surgery, so the cost won’t be high.

9. LB Perry Riley, 6: The Redskins need to re-sign him because they already have a hole at inside linebacker after London Fletcher retired. But they won’t break the bank for Riley, who needs to improve in coverage.

10. DE Justin Tuck, 6: Coming off an 11-sack season that came out of nowhere after two down years, Tuck turns 31 later this month but is a locker-room leader and a 4-3 defensive end who can set the edge against the run.

11. QB Michael Vick, 6: With Nick Foles' ascension, Vick is looking for a chance to start elsewhere.

12. RB Andre Brown, 5: He played very well in his first few games back off a broken leg, but faded down the stretch and fumbled too much in the final few games. He is likely not a guy who can be relied on as a starter, but potentially a valuable piece.

13. TE Brandon Myers, 5: A huge disappointment in New York after catching 79 passes as a Raider in 2012, Myers also contributed little as a blocker. The Giants are likely to let him go. He could fit better with a different system.

14. CB Terrell Thomas, 5: He played all 16 games after missing the previous two seasons because of ACL tears in the same knee. Thomas believes he can hold up as a starter off a real offseason, and would like to cash in.

15. S Danny McCray, 5: He is a core special teamer only, so the Cowboys could find value here.

Live blog: Redskins at Giants

December, 29, 2013
Join our NFL experts as they break down the Washington Redskins' visit to the New York Giants. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.

Live blog: Giants at Redskins

December, 1, 2013
Join our NFL experts as they break down the New York Giants' visit to the Washington Redskins. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.

John Clayton picks Giants to win NFC East

July, 27, 2013

Our man John Clayton offers a quickie breakdown in the video above of what he sees as a very competitive NFC East, and he thinks the New York Giants "probably have the best chance to win the division." He acknowledges their question marks on defense but cites Eli Manning, young running back David Wilson and their other offensive weapons as the reasons to favor the Giants to claim their second division title in three years.

John's is obviously an opinion I respect quite a bit, but that doesn't mean we always see things the same way. And, although I'm not ready to make my own prediction for the NFC East yet, I'm not overly enthralled with the Giants as a favorite right now. I find it hard to see where they got better, especially on defense. Assuming full-year health for Hakeem Nicks is risky, and I think the offense lost a lot of valuable blocking help with the departures of Ahmad Bradshaw and Martellus Bennett and the loss of Henry Hynoski to a knee injury for at least a little while. I also don't think we know yet how the running game will work out or whether Wilson is up to the task of a full-season starter's workload as a ball carrier and a pass-protector.

That said, you never can rule out the Giants, and they're likely the safest pick. Their ceiling doesn't feel overly high, but you do feel as though you know where the floor is. They're unlikely to be a bad team, and they always contend until the final weeks. Manning and Tom Coughlin are the cornerstones at the key positions of quarterback and coach who make sure of that every year.

I think the Redskins, if Robert Griffin III is healthy all year (a big "if," by the way), and the Cowboys, if they can keep their defense healthy, have more potential to have a great season than the Giants have. But there are also more things that can go wrong in those places. The Redskins still have major question marks in the secondary, the Cowboys on the lines. Picking one of those teams this year, I believe, carries more risk than picking the Giants does.

And no, I haven't forgotten about the Eagles. And no, I don't think it's impossible that they could win this division that hasn't had an 11-win team since 2009. But I do think they have the shakiest quarterback situation in the division by far and that they're all being forced to learn a lot of new things all at once on both sides of the ball under a new coaching staff. And I think they have the toughest road to contention of the four teams. I think the Eagles have the best chance of any of these four to have a poor season in 2013.

Drive of the game: Long march to victory

December, 4, 2012
LANDOVER, Md. -- The Giants controlled the ball for more than two-thirds of the first half, thanks to three drives which all lasted 10 plays or longer.

But it was the Redskins' longest drive, which spanned the third and fourth quarters, that was the decisive stretch of this game.

With the Giants leading 16-10, after Big Blue yet again had to settle for a field goal, the Redskins started a drive on their own 14-yard line, with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Rookie running back Alfred Morris set the tone with a 10-yard run on first down. After an incomplete pass by Robert Griffin III, Morris took the ball on 2nd-and-10 and ran for 16 more. (Morris finished with a career-high 124 rushing yards, went past the 1,000-yard mark on the season, and broke the Redskins' rookie rushing record with four games still to play.)

After that, RG3 took over. He ran for seven yards, and completed a nine-yard pass to Joshua Morgan to end the third quarter. Then, after five more positive running plays, he connected with Leonard Hankerson for 14 yards, and then Pierre Garcon for an eight-yard touchdown with 11:37 remaining in the game.

That would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

Twelve plays, 86 yards, in six minutes and 38 seconds -- and the Giants suddenly trailed for the first time in the game.

They never recovered.

Rapid Reaction: Redskins 17, Giants 16

December, 3, 2012

LANDOVER, Md. -- With a chance to expand their lead in the NFC East, the New York Giants couldn't beat Robert Griffin III for a second time this season as the Washington Redskins edged the Giants to put the division back up for grabs.

What it means: The Giants did a terrific job of keeping the ball out of RG3’s hands in the first half but Eli Manning couldn't move the ball twice after falling behind 17-16 in the fourth. The Giants' defense also couldn't get a stop at the end when it had to. The Giants allowed the Redskins to rush for more than 200 yards.

Now the Redskins, who have won three straight games, and Cowboys trail the Giants by one game in the division with four left to play.

Giant penalties: The Giants had some drive-killing penalties. Two hurt the Giants as they were in comeback mode in the fourth quarter after falling behind 17-16.

Jim Cordle was flagged for a penalty on a David Wilson kickoff return after Wilson got to near midfield. The penalty pinned the Giants to their own 8-yard line, and they went three-and-out.

And then Will Beatty was flagged for holding to nullify a first-down pass to Martellus Bennett, turning a first down into a third-and-20 instead. The Giants didn’t convert and had to punt.

Fumble and rumble: The Redskins were threatening in the third quarter but the Giants' defense came up with a couple of big plays.

First, Stevie Brown dragged Griffin down by his jersey for a touchdown-saving tackle after Griffin gained 46 yards on a third-and-1 option run. Then Chase Blackburn forced an Alfred Morris fumble, and the Giants recovered at their own 9-yard line. As players piled up trying to go after the ball, a scuffle ensued. Linval Joseph and Will Montgomery got into it, with Joseph stepping on Montgomery. Rocky Bernard also had to be separated from a Redskin.

Joseph and Kory Lichtensteiger were called for personal fouls but there were no ejections. The Giants turned that turnover into a Lawrence Tynes field goal to lead 16-10.

RG3 first-half kryptonite: The Giants found a way to stop RG3 -- keep him off the field.

The Giants held the ball for 20:32 in the first half, compared to the Redskins’ 9:28. They put together long, time-consuming drives and they converted on third down. The Giants were 8-for-10 on third downs in the first half.

The Redskins had trouble stopping the run as Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 77 yards in the first half. Also, the Giants went to Bennett, who had five catches for 82 yards and one touchdown to help the Giants lead 13-10 at intermission.

The Giants’ lead could have been greater if not for six first-half penalties and RG3’s fortunate fumble right into Josh Morgan’s hands for a touchdown.

Osi, Locklear start: The Giants started Osi Umenyiora at right defensive end with Jason Pierre-Paul nursing a back issue.

Also, the Giants started Sean Locklear at right tackle for David Diehl, who suffered a burner the previous week. Diehl, though, had to come in for Locklear, who had his right leg rolled up on and twisted badly with 5:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Locklear was carted off the field, and the injury looked serious.

On defense, Kenny Phillips played but did not start. The Giants went with three linebackers, using Keith Rivers to go with Blackburn and Michael Boley in their base package. Phillips came in to go with Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown on passing downs but he didn’t look like his normal self and didn’t play as much in the second half.

What’s next: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints pay a visit Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Locklear injured, carted off

December, 3, 2012
LANDOVER, Md. -- Giants offensive tackle Sean Locklear was carted off the field in the fourth quarter Monday night, with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

Locklear started at right tackle against the Redskins. He was replaced by David Diehl.

Also, safety Tyler Sash suffered a hamstring injury in the first half Monday night and did not return to the game.

We'll have more information on both players after the game.

Countdown Live: Giants at Redskins

December, 3, 2012
Join our panel of experts for a live, in-game chat during the Giants-Redskins game on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is 8:30 p.m.:

W2W4: Giants at Redskins

December, 2, 2012

LANDOVER, Md. -- The last time the Giants saw Robert Griffin III, they were a minute and 32 seconds away from losing to the Washington Redskins.

But Eli Manning put his Rocket Scientist hat on and hit Victor Cruz on a 77-yard game-winning touchdown, to DeAngelo Hall's dismay.

Now comes the rematch with the Redskins and a second meeting with RG3. Here are five things to watch for on Monday night:

RG3 kryptonite: The Giants barely survived RG3 the first time they faced each other. Now the Giants are the first team to get a second crack at the rookie.

Will it be a blessing or a curse? The Giants have to make the right reads and be sharp with their tackling. They have to find a way to keep RG3 from making the big play.

Griffin completed 7-of-11 passes on throws of more than 10 yards downfield against the Giants in their first meeting, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Giants will have to keep Pierre Garcon from busting a big play.

Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will have to somehow contain RG3 and get their licks in when they can. They sacked Griffin three times, intercepted him once and forced a fumble in their first meeting.

Stop Alfred: The Giants have to worry about another Redskins rookie. Running back Alfred Morris rushed for 120 yards last time these teams met, and if that happens again the Giants will be in trouble.

The Giants must be able to read when Griffin hands off to Morris and when he opts to keep it to run or throw.

Rocket science: In his last five games against Washington, Manning has thrown eight interceptions and just two touchdowns. He will have to do a much better job of exposing the Redskins' secondary and getting Hakeem Nicks and Cruz involved early and often.

Wilson's turn: It will be interesting to see how the Giants establish the running game with Andre Brown out with a broken fibula.

David Wilson is the next man up, and the Giants say his time to get carries is here. But will the coaches trust the first-round pick enough to give him meaningful carries and snaps, or will they lean heavily on Ahmad Bradshaw? And how will they utilize Wilson and get him in space?

The Giants also signed free-agent running backs Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin. It remains to be seen if the Giants will activate one or both for the game.

Be the beast: The Giants have a terrific opportunity to create space between themselves and the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East. Of course, the Giants always seem to make life harder than it should be. A win here, though, would put the Giants in great position in the NFC East with four games remaining.

Next-Level Preview: Giants at Redskins

December, 2, 2012
The Giants head to FedEx Field on Monday night for their second meeting of the season with the Washington Redskins. In Week 7, the Giants escaped with a 27-23 victory, largely due to Eli Manning's 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left to play.

The Giants are coming off of a convincing 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. In that game, Manning broke out of his scoring slump with three touchdown passes, including strikes to favored targets Hakeem Nicks and Cruz. The Redskins, meanwhile, beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-31 on the strength of Robert Griffin III's four touchdown passes.

Here are some areas to watch for on Monday:

• Griffin has been one of the best quarterbacks on throws more than 10 yards downfield. He has nine touchdowns on such throws (tied for third in the league), including 26- and 30-yard strikes to Santana Moss against the Giants in Week 7. Griffin is accurate with his deep passes, under- or overthrowing his targets only 18.4 percent of the time, second-lowest in the league. The Giants' defense, meanwhile, has struggled defending such throws, allowing the highest yards per attempt (13.1) in the league. They have also given up 10 touchdowns on throws more than 10 yards downfield, the total amount they allowed all of last season.

• The Giants will not only have to deal with RGIII's arm, but also his legs. The Redskins run the zone read -- where the quarterback has the option of either handing off to his running back or keeping it for himself -- more than any team in the NFL. In their Week 7 matchup against the Giants, the Redskins ran the zone read 14 times for 74 of their 248 rushing yards. The Giants will need to stay disciplined and maintain their assignments to contain the Redskins' rushing attack.

• The Giants have struggled to defend rushes outside the tackles, allowing the fourth-most rushing yards (446) and the third-highest yards per carry (6.4) in the league. The Redskins have two of the top-three rushers outside the tackles this season. Griffin has an NFL-best 438 yards outside the tackles and has rushed for 20 first downs, tied with Arian Foster for most in the league. Alfred Morris has the most rushes outside the tackles (68), more than half of which have come on pitches. As a team, the Redskins run outside the tackles on 40.2 percent of their rushes this year, highest in the league.

• The bye week did Manning a world of good last. Last Sunday, he posted his highest Total QBR (87.9) in the last five weeks and threw three touchdowns, all of which came on third down. How Manning plays on third down has been key to the Giants' success this season. When Manning plays well on third down, the Giants usually win.

Coughlin: Monday is 'most important game'

November, 29, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Monday night's game in Washington won't be just another divisional matchup for the Giants.

"The stage has been set," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Every game is extremely important. This is the most important game we've played all year long this Monday night."

The showdown will go a long way in determining which team is going to walk away with the NFC East. With a win, the Giants could sweep the Redskins and put themselves three games up in the division with just four remaining. A loss opens up the division.

"We are looking at this as this is the biggest game of the year right now," Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said. "We are still taking it one game at at time, and we got to grind through it and expect big things."

With a two-game lead on Washington and Dallas, the Giants can put Washington behind them by sweeping their NFC East rivals. If Dallas loses to Philadelphia, the Giants would then be up three games on both opponents entering the final four games. Even if the Cowboys win, the Giants would still be up two games on them.

Things would become dicey for the Giants with a loss, as they face a tough schedule to end the year. If the Redskins and Cowboys win, the Giants are suddenly just a game up in the division and will have to likely pull off some road upsets to secure their road to the playoffs.

In the final four weeks, the Giants host New Orleans and Philadelphia and travel to playoff-bound Atlanta and Baltimore. Washington's only game left against a team currently projected for the playoffs is a home game against Baltimore, while Dallas' only one is a home game against Pittsburgh.

"For both teams it's a very big game. It’s a divisional game," Coughlin said. "It's at this point of the year they're coming off two divisional wins. We're anxious to get back into the division, hopefully, to do well, but it's a very important game for both teams."

The Giants have notoriously made things tough on themselves in the second halves of seasons, including last year's loss to Washington before going on their Super Bowl run. While they're just 1-2 in the second half this year, wide receiver Victor Cruz sees a difference in the Giants as the season nears its end.

"I just see a different energy. I feel like we're a different team right now, as opposed to last year where we found our stride when our backs were really against the wall," Cruz said. "I feel like we're finding our stride now and luckily we're at a good point in the division and we have a pretty solid record right now, and we can only go up from here. We just got to keep our foot on the gas."

Tuck, Osi, JPP all get to RG3

October, 21, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A couple of weeks ago, Jason Pierre-Paul complained that he wasn't having any fun this season.

That appears to have changed.

After getting two sacks in the Giants' win in San Francisco last week, Pierre-Paul collected another one in Sunday's 27-23 victory over Washington. He also forced a fumble on a separate play, when he took down Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on a run behind the line of scrimmage.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III and Jason Pierre-Paul.
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireJason Pierre-Paul brings down Robert Griffin III.
And after his sack, Pierre-Paul did a "Gangnam Style" dance, to the delight of the crowd.

"It was a great win," a smiling Pierre-Paul said after the game.

All three of the Giants' star defensive ends got to Griffin, the Redskins' rookie phenom. Justin Tuck sacked him on a third-and-5 in Giants territory in the second quarter, forcing a Redskins field goal attempt. Osi Umenyiora brought Griffin down on a second-and-8 early in the fourth quarter.

For Tuck, believe it or not, it was his first sack of the season.

"Finally. It is good to get off the schneid, with Osi and JPP killing me in the meeting room and calling me the old guy," Tuck said. "It was good to make a play and help this team win a football game."

Griffin, with his speed, isn't the easiest guy to track down. And the Giants' pass-rushing trio raved about the rookie after the game.

"He's faster than I thought he was," Pierre-Paul said.

"I'm pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East," Tuck said.

"That guy is flat-out unbelievable," Umenyiora said. "That's the best quarterback we've played this year, for sure."

The Giants will have to face Griffin again, on Dec. 3 in Washington. In the meantime, Big Blue has four games to play -- against the Cowboys, Steelers, Bengals and Packers.

Not exactly a walk in the park.

The Giants had just eight sacks in the first five games of the season. But with nine in their past two games, the pass rush appears to be revitalized -- just in the nick of time.

Tuck and Umenyiora are important. But Pierre-Paul is the one who had 16.5 sacks last year -- fourth in the NFL, in just his second season. He's the biggest playmaker the Giants have on defense, and they need him to continue to perform at a high level.

"I think he had a lot of fun today," Tuck said of Pierre-Paul. "I honestly think that whole 'not having fun' (thing) was blown out of proportion. It was good to see that he is starting to make the plays that we are accustomed to watching him make.

"Like I said, that guy, I think he is going to change the league. If he continues to do what he is doing, he is going to be good for a long time."

Manning has comeback in Cruz control

October, 21, 2012

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning showed the Washington Redskins and their rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III, that he’s still got the best touch in the NFL when it comes to leading a fourth-quarter comeback.

His 77-yard touchdown throw to Victor Cruz also exposed one of the Redskins' biggest weaknesses.

Let’s take a closer look at the stats from the key play Giants win.

Eli does it again
This marked the eighth game-winning drive for Manning in the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of last season.

The touchdown was the longest fourth-quarter, go-ahead touchdown pass of Manning’s career.

Manning’s 197 touchdown passes are two shy of the Giants' team record, held by Phil Simms.

It was the second time this season that he connected with Cruz on a fourth-quarter touchdown throw of that length, and the sixth time Cruz has caught a 70-plus yarder for a score since his debut last season.

Manning had an 80-yarder to Cruz against the Buccaneers in Week 2 earlier this season. That one was a game-tying score. This one would be for a win.

Sunday's score gave Cruz a touchdown reception in four straight games, the longest streak by a Giants player since Hakeem Nicks in 2009.

Washington’s monumental issue
The Redskins entered the day having allowed 34 completions of 15 yards or longer, the most in the NFL.

Manning connected three times on five attempts of that length, the other two going for a combined 52 yards.

It wasn’t Eli’s best day
Prior to the touchdown throw, Manning was on the verge of his third straight game without a touchdown pass against the Redskins.

Last season, he threw four interceptions in two defeats and on Sunday, he threw two more before the winning score.

Manning was much more effective in shotgun than he was under center.

The chart on the right shows his difference in performance by alignment.

The Redskins have had their share of issues against quarterbacks in shotgun. Entering the day, they had allowed opponents to complete 65 percent of their throws in shotgun, the ninth-highest success rate in the NFL.

Stat of the Day
Manning improved to 26-5 all-time in October. Elias tells us that is the best October record for any starting quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Rapid Reaction: Giants 27, Redskins 23

October, 21, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning had an off day, but he saved his best for last, throwing a 77-yard touchdown strike to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left to lift the Giants over the Redskins 27-23 in a crucial NFC East showdown.

What it means: The Giants avoided what could have been a disastrous 0-3 division start. They needed an exciting comeback to do so, though.

After watching Robert Griffin III convert a fourth-and-10 by scrambling all over the place and then later a 24-yard scramble that helped set up a touchdown pass to Santana Moss, the Giants answered with Manning's bomb to Cruz for the win.

Second-half defense: Chris Canty returned off the physically unable to perform list and started the game at defensive tackle. But the Giants struggled to stop the run early on.

Rookie Alfred Morris rushed for 94 yards, and the Redskins gained 146 yards on the ground in the first half alone. Griffin also broke a handful of runs for large gains.

But in the second half, the Giants stepped up and forced a Morris fumble and then intercepted Griffin on back-to-back Redskins possessions.

Midway through the fourth, the Giants stopped a Redskins drive as Jason Pierre-Paul forced a Griffin fumble on his second sack of the game. When the Redskins got the ball back at the Giants' 32 on the next play with an interception, the Giants' defense held the Redskins to a field goal.

Griffin beat the Giants' defense on what appeared to be a game-winning drive, but Manning answered. RG3 then could not duplicate his scoring drive, as the Giants' defense came up with a game-clinching fumble recovery.

Linval Joseph had a strong game with a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and Justin Tuck registered his first sack and celebratory bow of the season.

Off Eli: Manning was off. He missed a wide-open Cruz in the end zone in the first half and later overthrew Cruz on a bomb early in the third.

Then he threw an interception inside the Giants' 20 on a pass that appeared to be intended for Martellus Bennett. And then up 20-13 with seven minutes left following a huge Griffin fumble, Manning threw a pass on first down right to linebacker Rob Jackson for an interception at the Giants' 32-yard line.

Manning salvaged the day with his big touchdown at the end.

Brown returns: Andre Brown returned from a concussion and scored on a 1-yard touchdown leap. Ahmad Bradshaw entered the game red-hot with two straight 100-yard games, but Brown got the goal-line carries in the first half. Bradshaw carried the ball at the goal line in the second half and scored on a 1-yard touchdown.

What's next: The Giants stay in the NFC East and travel to Dallas. It's a critical game since the Giants already lost to Dallas at home in the season opener.